Posts Tagged ‘Michael Kardos’

Book Review: Before He Finds Her

Before He Finds Her: A NovelBefore He Finds Her: A Novel by Michael Kardos

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An engrossing read, Kardos’s second novel captivates both as a thriller and as a character study that asks deep questions about love, family, truth, and the will to change. As anyone who has read The Three-Day Affair might expect, Kardos weaves a complex and excellently crafted narrative that alternates between the the days leading up to the murder of Allie Miller, of which her husband Ramsay is accused and the present where Ramsay is believed to be in hiding and still a threat to his 17-year-old daughter, Meg, even as she goes looking for the truth. Both narratives are full of suspense and revelations that alter our understanding of the crime and the characters involved. Kardos keeps us guessing throughout, and the payoff is satisfying both in terms of what we learn of the crime and what we may learn about ourselves, reflected in the story’s mirror. It is a book you won’t want to put down, even after you’ve read the final page.

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Mystery and Mayhem

There’s plenty of mystery in this year’s Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium keynote novel, The Widow and the Tree, and there is crime, both contemplated and perpetrated, though I wouldn’t classify the novel as a mystery exactly. It blends some elements of that genre, along with the gothic modern fairy tale that Welty uses in her Robber Bridegroom. Both books serve as the inspiration for our theme this year, and consequently, we have a few mysteries in the group.

Carolyn Haines’ Bonefire of the Vanities may have the greatest claim to that fame, coming as the 12th in the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series. Her intrepid detective is aided and abbetted by her sidekick and two dogs, as well as a relatively friendly ghost. Together they solve mysteries in the Mississippi Delta, bones of all kinds providing the common theme. Carolyn Haines will read on Friday 10/19 at 1:30 p.m.
Olympia Vernon also explores crime in her novel, A Killing in This Town, though the tone is a bit more sober, as she delves into the motives and the ramifications of a fictional civil-rights era slaying in rural Mississippi.

Finally, Michael Kardos brings his debut novel to the symposium. The Three-Day Affair has been called a mystery thriller involving a somewhat unintentional kidnapping and the college buddies who have to weigh their allegiance to each other against their conscience and better judgement. Both Michael Kardos and Olympia Vernon read on Saturday 10/20 from about 10:30-12:00.

A Great Summer Read

One Last Good Time by Michael Kardos

One Last Good Time 5 of 5 stars
by Michael Kardos

I love the dark humor in these stories. The book is a linked short story collection in which the stories that have returning characters comment on each other and further develop the characters, though the collection does not read like a novel. Each story stands on its own, yet we get a fuller view of a small New Jersey coastal town the further we read into the book. It is wickedly funny and perceptive at the same time. Like a reflection in a funhouse mirror, we see our true selves, our nightmare selves, and perhaps even our fantasy selves all at once.